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Houston Hair Salon

At McMillan Interiors, our passion is to partner with homeowners to create a home that is comfortable, functional, full of personality and beautiful – a home that tells a story and will be a backdrop for many years of laughter, love and memories. Creating a bespoke Home; unique to each homeowners has a really special place in our heart and it’s the work we love to do!

But we also relish in working with local businesses to create personality-filled, head-turning spaces that create a memorable and exciting user experience! Over the years we’ve worked with Houston Hair to advise on, and supply, show-stopping wall-coverings and fabrics to furnish their cool, contemporary Ballymena based salons. We were thrilled to be approached by Simon Houston – owner, creative director and friend to us here at McMillan Interiors – last year to supply a jaw-dropping wall covering fit for his brand new salon opening in Ballymena Town Centre.

Behind a sleek, black facade the interior walls were drenched in a beautiful rose pink paint and the space was furnished with furniture in a palette of Nordic pine and glossy red, with on-trend copper lighting adding warmth. For such a cool space there was only one thing for it – it was time to draw on the big maximalist guns: French powerhouse of pattern and colour Christian Lacroix.

Renowned for their unique, exuberant, colourful and baroque style, Christian Lacroix designs are innovative, theatrical and intended to make a statement! Perfect for our owner Simon and his salon that pushes boundaries, constantly innovates, and pursues the most up-to-date trends, skills and products for a modern and style-conscious client. We settled on a panoramic mural wallcovering representing the lush Parc de Bagatelle on the outskirts of Paris that was a popular gathering spot for festivities during the 18th Century Directoire era.

Mixing digital with illustration and juxtaposing lush, leafy foliage with urban towers and classical architecture, it’s a mural that is eye-catching, rich, and dynamic – the perfect contrasting partner to the feminine pink salon walls. See for yourself how it turned out!

Hung on the walls at the far end of the salon, they instantly catch the eye of both passers-by on the street and clients entering in. It’s utterly eye-catching but not overtly dominating; it’s both masculine and feminine; it’s uplifting but soothing at the same time. Two-thirds of the mural were placed at the rear of the salon while the remaining one-third was hung at the waiting-area at the front of the salon; creating a little seating-zone for clients ready to be primped, polished, and transformed by the dedicated and skilled team at Houston hair!

At McMillan Interiors, we truly believe that our interior spaces can affect our mood – both for better and for worse! Houston Hair is a salon furnished and finished in such a way to welcome, cocoon, uplift and inspire you! Such is the power of colour, interior furnishings and decor! You can find out more about Houston Hair and their services here.

If you’re finding that your interior space – whether that’s your home or your business space – is lacking and is having a less positive effect on your mood, it’s time for a change! At McMillan Interiors we partner with you to create a design-plan tailored to your space, needs and style. We have an extensive library of home furnishings, and we have over thirty years experience in guiding and advising homeowners in identifying their style and creating a beautiful, functional space that tells your story and will serve you for many years to come.

For more information on our services or to enquire about how we can partner with you to refresh a couple of rooms or tackle a more comprehensive project, email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk. We’d love to talk!

You can find McMillan Interiors on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!

Airbnb Cabin

Launched in October 2020, The Cabin is a beautiful and luxurious Airbnb retreat for those who need to get away from it all and recharge the batteries. Clad with beautifully knotted timber and looking out onto Slemish Mountain, it’s an idyllic little haven with a bit of a colourful (literally!) history…

The Cabin began life over thirty years ago as the home of Niel & Catherine McMillan’s Interior Design Studio & Workroom. It was a place to meet clients, showcase homewares, and make up bespoke soft furnishings for homes around the UK and Ireland. However, the business quickly expanded and The Cabin was vacated in favour of a more spacious premises in Ballymena Town Centre.

Meanwhile The Cabin became a Recreation room for family & friends until in 2018, it began another metamorphosis. By this stage, McMillan Interiors had been established and plans were made to turn The Cabin into a compact and cosy Studio for the business. In the Autumn of 2018, after having undergone extensive internal and external surgery, The Cabin officially opened as the new home of McMillan Interiors.

September 2018: Renovations almost complete

The story could have ended there….but it didn’t! Just over a year later and The Cabin was itching for another metamorphosis. McMillan Interiors Design Studio was packed up and relocated to a spacious converted barn and The Cabin began its transformation into an Airbnb retreat. It was a transformation we were thrilled to get stuck into!

Exterior of The Cabin featuring beautifully toned timber & contemporary lights flanking the doors

The vision for The Cabin was to create a cosy, moody and super comfortable place for those who needed respite and to recharge the batteries. A place to turn off the phone and hideaway, but equally a springboard for exploring the wilds of Northern Ireland. We prioritised plentiful seating, a decadently comfortable bed, and colour & texture to create a real sense of home comforts. Let us show you around!

LIVING AREA

Plenty of upholstered seating to ensure our guests get comfortable!

We made sure to squeeze in a John Sankey sofa for a supremely comfortable seating experience and upholstered armchairs in fabrics from William Yeoward and Designers Guild for a pop of quirky colour and pattern. A paisley patterned Ted Baker rug creates a lovely moody blue pool on the floor.

Sit back, sip on a drink and play to win!

DINING AREA

Living Area looking into the Dining Area

Superfast Wifi and a full sized dining table allow our guests a space to work – as was the case for our first guest who used The Cabin as a hideaway for a writing retreat! Alternatively, light some candles, turn the lights down low and enjoy an intimate and quiet dinner with a loved one!

The dining area gives you space and quiet for a spot of work or a tasty takeaway!

We clad the partition wall with Pierre Frey wallpaper to add character and interest. A quirky bulls head sculpture and faux foliage add whimsy and colour.We also ensured there is plenty of low-level lighting with floor lamps and table lamps to create a lovely cosy atmosphere.

BEDROOM

Kingsize bed that has guests raving about how comfortable it is!

Walls of soft grey wrap around our guests in the bedroom while the headboard partition wall features a soft pink textured-effect wallpaper from Matthew Williamson. Curtains from Chelsea Textiles add whimsical pattern and ensure the bedroom is dark, cosy and the perfect spot for a good night’s sleep.

KITCHEN & WC

Compact kitchenette to rustle up small meals and snacks

Nina Campbell wallpaper paired with a green and grey fitted kitchen creates a soft and bright corner for grabbing a coffee and a light bite. We’re in Northern Ireland so an abundance of tea on hand was a must! For coffee-lovers, a French Press and Nespresso machine will give you the caffeine kick you need!

Wash away the dust and worries of the day!

Bathrooms can be real hidden gems of the home – a space where you can indulge in a bit of bold colour and pattern and it’ll look amazing! In The Cabin, a bright and warmly lit shower room gives way to a deliciously dark WC. We laid patterned grey tiles from local tile supplier J&R Keys Tiles and wrapped the walls in a beautiful navy blue wallpaper from Matthew Williamson featuring hundreds of softly glinting stars.

Wash & preen yourself under the watch of gently twinkling stars

DETAILS

Fabulously funky Designers Guild cushions

A final flurry of finishing touches and we were done! We ensured our guests had privacy by fitting ivory sheers and soft grey curtains on the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the cabin. Sitting areas were softened with cushions, the bookcase was stacked with books, the cupboards filled with boardgames and puzzles, and the basket topped up with firewood for a weekend of lounging, reading, and relaxing by the fire!

Coffee & a book by the fire…what could be better?

It would be remiss of us not to mention the private lake and secluded woodland on the doorstep of The Cabin….not the work of our hands but a real draw of this place! Between coffees and chapters, our guests can pull on their wellie boots and stomp around the trout filled lake and lush woodland featuring native Irish trees and wild critters!

Get some fresh air around the scenic lake

Take a seat and enjoy the sounds of Mother Nature

Transforming The Cabin for guests to call home for a few days has been such a joy and privilege! At McMillan Interiors, it’s long been our heart & vision to create HOME…meaning a safe and welcoming place that is comfortable, functional, and full of personality. A place to make cherished memories. Our wish is that The Cabin will be this type of HOME for many guests and visitors over the next months and years.

You can book The Cabin for yourself here!

If you have any enquiries about your own home renovations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. At McMillan Interiors our services include product sourcing – including furniture, hardware, lighting, wallcoverings, soft furnishings and accessories – and fitting. We partner with you to make the design and decorating process as simple as possible. Whether you have a room that needs updating or a whole house renovation, we want to help. Contact us by:

Email: catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk

Phone: 02825 880012

You can also find us on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!

The Colourful Minimalist

Extraordinary homes require extraordinary quality, and this modern build close to the beautiful North Coast of Ireland was no exception to the rule. It was two years ago that we were approached by the homeowners to supply luxury wall-coverings and advise on colours and finishes for their newly bought home; a stunning modern behemoth of steel, glass, plaster and stone. A lengthy schedule of external and internal construction as well as a demanding redesign of the garden and landscape was in motion but we were excited to get stuck in! We had great rapport with the homeowners and over a series of consultations over the course of a few months, we finalised a cohesive scheme that would inject colour, texture and tactile luxury throughout the interior of the home.

The architecture and DNA of a building often dictate the direction of the interior design and with every project, we endeavour to remain sensitive and discerning to what way the building is “leading” us. This building was modern and clean; a labyrinthine colossus of lines, angles, height and light…it was demanding a clean, structured, unfussy and minimalist touch. Thankfully, the homeowners’ preferred aesthetic was for such an uncluttered and contemporary space.

Our finalised design drew on luxurious, textural and vividly coloured wall-coverings with abstract and organic forms, themes of flora and the natural world, and touches of geometric form running throughout the space. The minimalist aesthetic is often achieved through a restrained palette of monochromatic and neutral tones but with such a large building, taking into account our harsh and cold northern light, and bearing in mind the inhabitants of the home – a young, energetic family – we felt that making use of colour was the correct course to take (thankfully our homeowners felt the same!)

The family have been living in the home for some months now and earlier this year, we got a chance to visit and photograph the interior. It is just a sublime home – warm, bright, calm, stimulating and each room provokes surprise and intrigue. Let us show you around!..

Red is notoriously difficult to get right in an interior – it runs the risk of being too overwhelming and even a touch dated but in this open plan living and kitchen area, it sings but doesn’t drown out other voices. The key is restraint – one wall of red is enough while the surrounding crisp white walls, warm grey flooring, the light tan sofa and the pops of greenery counteract the strength of the red.

Our homeowners had an eclectic and colourful selection of artwork and we were careful to bear these pieces in mind when working on the selection of colours throughout the house; our aim is to complement and not fight with the artwork.

Every room is stunning in this house, but there’s a real spark of joy for a room that is traditionally very utilitarian….the bathroom! Have a look..

This digital and handdrawn urban jungle wall panel from french designer Christian la Croix makes such a statement! You can afford to be bold, fun and over the top with the bathroom….so we did while not venturing too far from the overall aesthetic of the home.

The cinema and games room featured a long stone brick wall in tones of charcoal grey, umber and ochre. Taking our cue from this palette, we specified a textural wall covering in similar tones which echoes the formation and structure of the stone brick wall. Dark, moody and cosy!

Wallpaper and wallcoverings have a depth, texture and warmth to them that paint does not and we love using wallpaper whenever we can! For this home, with so much glass and so much light flooding in, having walls of richness and luminosity was so important.

The bedroom is a combination of a textural cerulean blue stripe, a charcoal grey stripe and a grey tonal textured faux animal hide wall covering. Such a stunning and rich mix! The walk through wardrobe (below) was clad in a vibrant, dynamic multi-coloured diamond design.

For the second bedroom, we ventured a little softer and more feminine by using a beautiful warm grey trailing vine and leaf design featuring delicate doves. A few rooms in this home featured high ceilings and we utilised wallpaper to add pattern and interest to the huge expanses of wall. Again, wallpaper in unique in how it breaks up expanses of wall and keeps the eye moving to create a dynamic and interesting aesthetic.

What do you think? We’re delighted with how this home turned out and we’re glad to say our homeowners are very happy too! We’d love to know your thoughts so drop us a comment below.

Finally, if you’d like help with redesigning and decorating your home – whether it’s one or two rooms, or a whole house overhaul – don’t hesitate to get in touch! We offer a service that includes design, supply and manufacture, and fit-out. We’d love to advise, listen to your ideas and make your home fit your needs and aesthetic. Call us on 02825 880012 or email ruth-anne@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk. You can also find us on HouzzInstagram and Facebook!

Style School: Art Deco

Let’s talk about Art Deco.

You see, over the last few months, as we’ve dashed around Design shows and Fairs and ogled over new designer collections; as we’ve flicked through brochures and magazines heralding the new interior trends, we’ve noticed an unmistakable resurgence of Art Deco.

Quick history lesson: After the austerity of the war years (1914-1918), people were desperate for a lift. The economic boom of the 1920s (hence why it was called “the roaring twenties“) ushered in a much more decadent, lavish and luxurious era that lasted until the 1950s. The Art Deco style was glamorous, elegant and modern; all about making a statement and oozing luxury and richness. It was characterised by geometric motifs, symmetry, hard edges broken up by curved elements, bold colour, and luxurious materials such as gold, rich woods, lacquer and velvet. Furthermore, the discovery of Tuthankhamen’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 led to Egyptian influences and motifs seeping into Art Deco.

     

[Sources here and here]

Since then, we’ve seen the prominence of Modernism, Minimalism, and Scandinavian styles in late 20th Century/ early 21st Century interiors. Truthfully however, for the last few decades there had been no dominating global “style”; designers and homeowners are much more confident in dabbling in different trends, mixing styles and not becoming enslaved to one particular look. It’s great! We champion individualism all the way!

Nevertheless, a quick look around the high street tells us that styles come and go, and cycle and try to catch on again. We see the resurgence of trends we thought were long dead.. this is especially obvious in fashion: the revival of 70s and boho, and 80s shoulder pads are just some of the things we’ve seen over the last decade. Similarly in interiors, we see styles and trends cycling and resurfacing now and again.

And so, 2018 seems to be the revival of Art Deco, or so the big name designers, influential blogs, and magazines would have us believe! What do you think about it? One design house in particular that is going hard and fast with the Deco trend is internationally renowned fabric and wallpaper house: Zoffany. Have a look at their 2018 collection ‘The Muse

 

“Encapsulating the sophistication and decadence of the 1920’s, The Muse combines modernist style with fine craftsmanship and rich materials..The Muse channels cosmopolitan hotel luxe and symbolises elegance and prestige.”

  

[See the whole collection here]

We’ve worked with Zoffany fabrics and wallpapers for years and they are masters of colour and luxurious products; we love them for their elegance, high quality, and sophistication. While we love seeing their iconic, inimitable colour palette coming through ‘The Muse‘ collection, we must admit that we’re not so keen on this overt Art Deco trend. A very obvious Art Deco look runs the risk of dating quickly and longevity is something we all (designers, homeowners, consumers) must consider. With so much product and options out on the market, it’s easy to get sucked into buying more, more, more! But with each new purchase, something gets thrown out and we have landfills heaving under the weight of our discarded products. A room designed to last years is kinder to the environment and to your purse!

We can picture ‘The Muse‘ collection in an urban, luxurious hotel but we’re not so sure on how the whole look will translate to a residential space. But we aren’t closing the books on this collection or the Art Deco trend altogether. Instead, we think Art Deco motifs, elements and characteristics can be implemented into a space in a much less overt, but much smarter way!

  

[Sources here and here]

We love this glam teal-green space featuring velvet upholstery, gold chandeliers and bold black panelling lined in gold. It’s an homage to Art Deco style: gold, geometrics, luscious fabrics and lacquered surfaces, and yet refrains from being too “obviously” Art Deco. The entrance lobby in the second image nods to Art Deco with it’s glossy chequerboard floor and vintage Chandelier.

   

[Sources here]

One of our favourite fabric and wallpaper designers Manuel Canovas has released a collection this year that is both contemporary and retro; channeling elements of Art Deco and Mid-Century. We love it because it doesn’t sit neatly in one era. It’s a nod to history and yet it’s fresh enough to look fabulous in modern day spaces.

[Sources here]

Or how about a quiet nod to Art Deco with one or two elements in your space? Consider a strong geometric wallpaper in a dining room and pair it with touches of gold to create a little Art Deco glam. Upholster a compact little tub chair in a velvety soft geometric print, or bedeck a bedroom wall in a smart geometric paper and add touches of gold, luscious silks and a large lamp in a faux-lacquered finish.

Finally, we’ve pulled together a few ideas for pieces of furniture and furnishings to add a little touch of Art Deco in your home!

    

[Sources here, here and here]

  

[Sources here, here and here]

For any more information about any products listed here, or if you’re interested in a home renovation (whether that’s a one room project or a whole house renovation), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Email catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk or phone 07808959212.

 

 

The Dark Side

Forty years ago, in May 1977, little-known director George Lucas released an epic Space Opera film called Star Wars that would set off a global movement of mania over the daring battle between the Rebel Force and the Galactic Empire.

This December sees the release of the eighth episode, ‘The Last Jedi’ and the saga shows no sign of waning in popularity. Fans, critics and movie buffs around the world have long made their claim over where their allegiances lie – with the knightly Jedi Rebels or the Sith-run Empire. I have my own convictions and I will leave you to make yours, but when it comes to interiors and home style lets consider the debate: are you Jedi or Sith? Light or Dark? Bright and fresh, or moody and muted?

For a few years now, light and fresh Scandinavian style interiors have been all the rage. They typically feature lots of white or lightly stained woods, comfortable fabrics such as linen, wool and shaggy sheepskin, and a palette of whites, greys, and muted shades of blues, greens, yellows. It’s light, airy, fresh, clean, and cosy. It’s contemporary and still very much on trend.

So, hands up…who loves this?

This is a style for those who prefer more of a minimalist look – it’s clean, pared back, unfussy. Furniture is streamlined and often raised up on legs. It features lots of nice lines and is typically tidy and compact. The Scandivanian countries are masters of this style but all do slight variations of it.

To get this style, neutral is key but that doesn’t have to mean boring – play with a range of neutral tones. Choose some natural motifs in neutral colours or some small scale prints with little pops of colour to add fun. Don’t forget to play up texture – choose a range of fabrics such as slubby linens, soft cottons, shaggy rugs and throws and some nice metallics for interest.

Here’s a couple of Scandi-inspired schemes we’ve pulled together:

But maybe you’re less Luke-Skywalker-Jedi-Light-Side and more Darth-Vader-Sith-Dark-Side (confession….I came over to the Dark Side a couple of years ago and have no regrets!)

While the light Scandinavian style interior has been popular for a few years, the dark interior has really only caught momentum much more recently. However it’s showing no signs of slowing down which is really exciting to see! A significant ambassador of the dark trend is British designer Abigail Ahern who proposes that for a really stylish, cosy and character-full space, homeowners should paint walls, ceilings, doors, woodwork and moulding in gorgeously dark, inky colours – browns, blues, ochres, greens, blacks, greys. This creates a cosy ‘cocooning’ effect in the room and actually blurs the edges and corners of the room, thereby making it feel grander and bigger. The Dark Side is the perfect canvas for all the maximalists out there – it’s an opportunity for you to fill those dark corners with lamps and clusters of candles to create cosy puddles of light and warmth around the room.

Texture and layering is key to create visual interest and really to create a bit of fun! Over the last year we’ve seen the arrival – and resurrection – of some really cool textures and finishes which are perfect in a dark room. Interesting botanicals have made a big impact on the interiors scene (e.g. exotic cacti, fabulous succulents, blousy florals, huge monstera plants, fragrant eucalyptus) and we’ve seen some really well-made faux plants appear on the market which is allowing us to create all sorts of interesting spaces and effects. In Fashion and Interiors we’ve also seen the glorious revival of sumptuous velvet in a stunning array of colours – rich chocolates, regal blues, dusky pinks, and vibrant yellows.

Have I convinced you to come to the dark side yet?… If not, here’s a delectably dark scheme we pulled together full of buttery soft velvets, cosy wools, shimmering silks, slubby linens and that fabulous mercury wallpaper. So glam and fun and super cosy.

So whether you’re Jedi -light or Sith-Dark, the key to either style is texture. Inject lots of fun and cosy fabrics into your rooms – home should be a place that is welcoming, warm, and comfortable!

Our Design Tips 2017

Blue is here!  Green is coming! Specifically dark emeralds and bottle greens. I love these colour palettes!

 

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I’ve also included a Steven Hanna Photography landscape which picks up on the same palette.

You’ll see a lot more of these tones in the year to come.

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Geometrics are here!  But the fluid organic designs of water, mercury and randomness of paint

spatter art will be also be used in fabrics and wallcoverings in homes coming into next year.

Designers Guild and Zoffany have great examples.  And a newcomer on the scene –

homegrown in Northern Ireland!  William Clarke, Earthed, The Upperlands Collection.

So exciting and such a relief to see the industry of linen production and finishing being revived

here in the province.

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Watch out for the same influences in carpets and lighting. 

Keep up to date with our design tips for 2017 as they happen. New trends, new colours, new fabrics and much more on our Facebook page here. Check out the Steven Hanna Photography website here to see more of his latest stunning landscape photography. 

If this has whetted your appetite your appetite, and you’re now thinking it’s time for some decorating, please get in touch. You can make an appointment and come and see us at our McMillan Interiors studio – The Outpost, 53a Loan Road, Cullybackey, BT42 1PS. Phone 07808959212 to make an appointment or email either of the following – niel@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk or catherine@mcmillaninteriors.co.uk